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Why on earth talk about climate change?

Because it matters much to a lot of people nowadays. Actually the concern about climate seems to be one of the biggest issues in western societies. And one of the least understood.

Recently a youngster (15y) told me that we (the oldies) have wracked our home (and only) planet entirely. Earth will become uninhabitable soon. (What a Canettian delight…) We – that is, in particular, Eduard as well as the boy’s father – should be shameful for our climate crimes! Confiteor! Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

How to create a pandemic out of thin air

Here is guide to how to produce a perfectly legit “pandemic” according to the World Health Organisation aka WHO with nothing more than some PCR (or other) test(s).

Let us state upfront that a “pandemic”, according to WHO is defined as ‘ “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people”. The classical definition includes nothing about population immunity, virology or disease severity.’

So suppose you got a PCR or any other medical test signifying an infectious agent. Its accuracy is determined by measuring two things: sensitivity and specificity. Whereas sensitivity measures correct positive results and thereby incorrect negative results, specificity measures correct negatives and thereby incorrect positive results.

The specifity of current PCR tests is largely unknown.

And without those two parameters — namely sensitivity & specifity — and a third one, namely prevalence defined as the proportion the infected population (which is again hidden and unknow) — it is very difficult to get a viable and reliable estimate of the activity of the infection in a population.

Everything else – and this is exactly what governments and their experts are doing most of the time at the moment – equals reading the tea leaves. In this respect, we have unfortunately (re)turned to the augurs.

Pointedly stated: if specifity is low and few people are infected one tends to greatly overestimate the actual (but unknown) prevalence by concentrating on “a lot” of mostly false positive results. In the limit of nonexistent infectious agent all your positive results are bogus. Or even more concrete: if the specifity is 95% and regulations force 100.000 asymptomatic (without symptoms) home-/incoming tourists to pass the test, then 5.000 false positive tests will be inflicted on these individuals.

This could therefore quite straightforwardly be used to drive policy decisions havoc, and cause a lot of harm and the occasional profits.

Driving forces are, among many other conceivable factors, Angst — the anxiety of the people and their politicians and their tendency to overprotect, a sort of “safer-is-safer” mentality; no matter the opportunity costs, leading to security excesses. No country wants to “perform badly” with respect to peer countries or everybody else, and therefore one effectively gets an international match situation, a competition of sorts.

Now if

*) you postulate an infectious disease which is non-existent or so scarce that you can hardly find it, and at the same time

*) succeed to market your PCR test with imperfect specifity then — bingo! You have created a pandemic which satisfies the WHO criteria of a “pandemic”.

From there this “pandemic” is easy to sustain because all testing measures to identify, contain and curb it will result in even more PCR tests — yielding even more positive cases — never mind all or the majority of them are false positives.

Congrats: you just created a vicious cycle of ever increasing case numbers and profits for those involved in testing!

ps: If you are into math and statistical quantitative analysis you can even quantify your “success” and “return on investments” by studying Bayes’ theorem, a standard procedure since maybe around 1800 — yes, this is no typo; spell “eighteen hundred AD”.

pps: If you are into philosophy you might want to contemplate the difference between epistemic and ontic; between what can be known relative to the available (test) means, and what really is. This is an ancient debate starting with Plato’s allegory of the cave and reappearing in many different forms of unknowables.

The physics of Earth’s climate

A caveat: This is an ongoing attempt to understand relevant physical aspects of climate modelling. So the Reader should not expect “the truth” but what this Author in his sceptical attempt to “know” considers important. There are no ontologic claims but merely epistemic hints.

A good entry point to the history of debates in global warming is a review (see also the associated book).

Let’s start with a quote from The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica “The atmosphere allows most of the visible light from the Sun to pass through and reach Earth’s surface. As Earth’s surface is heated by sunlight, it radiates part of this energy back toward space as infrared radiation. This radiation, unlike visible light, tends to be absorbed by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, raising its temperature. The heated atmosphere in turn radiates infrared radiation back toward Earth’s surface. (Despite its name, the greenhouse effect is different from the warming in a greenhouse, where panes of glass transmit visible sunlight but hold heat inside the building by trapping warmed air.)”

Almost everybody (with notable exceptions) agrees upon the hypothesis that the presence of certain gases in the air – in particular, water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane – contributes to a warming of the surface and the lower atmospheric layers of our planet. This is due to the fact that these gases absorb infrared radiation which is emitted by Earth. The radiation is in turn “fed” by the solar radiation absorbed by Earth. Thereby, from all such gases, water vapour has the largest absolute effect.

Despite this agreement there appears to be a controversy about how (much) exactly anthropogenic increments of the CO2 concentration – for instance, by the burning of fossil fuel and coal et cetera – contribute to the aforementioned warming.

Moreover, there does not even seem to be agreement on the question on how to give physical meaning to the term “global warming” because the notion of temperature on a global scale may be difficult to define. Also, the available data may not support the claims and predictions of “global warming” and its effects.

One of the biggest issues is the quantitative effect of a feedback loop which could potentially amplify anthropogenic global warming (AGW): a very small increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, so goes the hypothesis, might be amplified immensely by allowing the air to “carry” more water vapor.

Water vapor is a powerful infrared radiation absorbent. It might heat up the atmosphere even further, thereby allowing even more water vapor in it; and so on and so forth; until such point when a new balance or equilibrium establishes itself between the radiation energy Earth receives from its sun and the part of this radiation emitted back toward space by Earth (including its atmosphere). Depending on the nonlinear amplification this new equilibrium might be characterized by a much higher, nonlinear, increase of the “surface temperature” (or energy per Earth’s surface area or atmospheric volume at low altitudes) as compared to previous lower CO2 levels.

Thereby, even tiny increases of concentrations of CO2 or methane (e.g., from burning fossile fuel, animal herding and an increase in population) due to anthropogenic factors might result in large changes of temperature. In the long run this might result in large changes of climate.

One of the open issues is the magnitude of this thermic coupling of CO2 and methane to water vapour. Another issue is the possible saturation of absorption of radiation: if almost all radiation has already been absorbed by a certain amount of gases, additional increases of their concentration might have little effects on temperature.

For the time being, to quote Axel Bojanowski, “According to chemical experiments, if the amount of CO2 in the air were to double, the temperature would rise by one degree. According to theory, it is water vapor that dangerously increases the greenhouse effect: Warmer air causes more water to evaporate, which would further heat the air as a kind of steam bell. How strong the effect is is a key question in climate research.”

Other driving factors in the converse direction towards lower temperatures are aerosols, condensed water vapor or clouds which increase the albedo – the amount of reflection of solar radiation due to covering part of Earth by a whitish reflective shield. This radiation energy is not absorbed by Earth but emitted back toward space. This might potentially contribute to much lower temperatures – due to the very same nonlinear mechanisms described above. In the extreme this might yield even to a totally glaciated “snowball Earth“.

So, depending on one’s personal inclinations, preferences and convictions, those hypothetical physical models and mechanisms allow room for varied, converse fears of both global warming as well as global cooling.

But surely science should not be driven by fear but deal with facts.

Unfortunately, presently it is very difficult to quantify the confidence level of the computer models and simulations.

Therefore the public emphasis should be on the subjunctive term “might” associated with those assumptions and conjectures. They cannot be taken as scientific matter of fact but as hypothetical conjectures. Even if all the relevant factors have already been taken into account (this is another conjecture) the plasticity of the respective claims and forecasts is high; ranging from almost nil to an increase of a few degrees in temperature for some areas of our planet.

This Author is convinced that the current status and confidence level of our predictions suggest our further attention, but certainly do not justify drastic measures such any kind of taxation or emissions trading.

Ego investment

Here is a definition of ego-investment by Rollo Tomassi: “when you have a belief – whether it’s religious or political or just life wise – that you feel so strongly about that belief you invest your ego in it. So an attack on that belief is not just an attack on the actual belief itself or the religion or whatever. It is an attack on you because you feel that it is a part of you; a part of your ego.”

Jesuit lies

My friend and mentor Prof. Ernst Specker from ETH Zurich considered “Jesuit lies” to be things that you do know but don’t say because they are jeopardizing your goals.

Or you might not mention the context in which a statement is embedded, and thereby completely flip the message content on the receiving end.

A Jesuit lie is a deliberate omission for advantage over truth for a cause which appears to be good and just.

This is about a short but revealing conversation with a journalist from the Austrian public broadcaster ORF who in an online posting claimed: “Then came the phase of the alleged scientific “discussion”. Scientists hired by business lobbies argued against the consensus” (translation thanks to deepl). The statement reveals a lot about the type of politically correct scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

I asked him about the basis of such an amazing claim, which seems to be twofold:

(1) there has never been a serious scientific discussion – and there indeed never will be one – because there is no need for it: every sane person – and, in particular, every proper scientist – accepts that AGW is the main driving factor for global warming, which exists, as scientific fact. Note the subtheses: global warming exists; and AGW is the main cause of it.

(2) Those remaining “scientists” who dissent with AGW are corrupt as they are bought by business lobbies.

Now who in their right mind would dare to disagree, right? This rings all the right bells and wizzles, and expresses Chomsky’s manufactured consent on the upcoming climatic Armageddon so eloquently.

The journalist’s answer was not directly related to point (2) – corrupt scientists denying AGW – yet he extended (1) in claiming that 99.3% of all scientists in climate science warn about the (dramatic) consequences of climate change.

Now that was a number to dwell on: 99.3%! Wow!

Btw, this remindes me of the fake Nazi propaganda of the alleged 99.7561% of Austrians (in Germany the fabricated number was slightly less, namely “only” 99%) in support for the “Anschluss” which absorbed Austria into the “Reich” in 1939.

I asked the journalist about his source, and voila, this is what he came up with: “Skeptical Science Study Finds 97% Consensus on Human-Caused Global Warming in the Peer-Reviewed Literature”. Never mind the small discrepance between 97% and 99.3%. These are peanuts relative to the sheer magnitude of support for the AGW thesis.

This quoted web review contains a link to the primary scientific study on “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” which deserves some attention because it is quoted over and over again. Actually I knew it before: because of its popularity in print it is almost impossible to avoid it.

And yet nobody seems to listen to it. Most quotations endulge into (re)claiming what they are ego invested in.

Suppose we are taking this classical meta-analysis – an analysis about the literature on climate change – at face value. That is, we don’t acknowledge that those who publish in climate change have any vested interest whatsoever in keeping the field popular and “hot” – they have no skin in the game whatever.

Then let us quote from the abstract:We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.”

So does this mean that “97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming“?

Yes and no, depending on the context selected:

(1) Yes because “Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.” In short: if you commit yourself to or against AGW then you are almost certainly commited to AGW.

(2) No because those who expressed a position on AGW were merely 32.6% + 0.7% + 0.3% = 33.6% of the population of all scientists (the majority did not express any opinion on AGW). And, according to Statistics 101, this results in merely

(32.6% + 0.7% + 0.3%)*97.1% = (33.6%)*97.1% = 32.63%

that is, slighly less than one third, of the overall scientists working in climate science in support of AGW. Because this is the figure for taking a stance on AGW AND are commited to the consensus position acknowledging AGW. How suprising!

Another issue mentioned in the abstract is related to self-rating of climatologists: “In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus.”

Again, and almost miraculously, of those expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed AGW.

In any case a substantial percentage of over one third to about two thirds – the majority – of researchers in climate change remain silent.

So, what did the journalist respond? He noted: “Nevertheless, only 0.7 percent of the texts have a tendency to claim that climate change is not man-made.”

While this may be correct in the context in which 60% of the data are omitted, it distorts the situation into the unrecognizable. Indeed it would be more appropriate to write:

“Of the minority – that is about one third of the total population – of publications that mention man-made global warming, only 0.7 percent contradict the thesis that climate change is not man-made. The vast majority of these studies, on the other hand, support the thesis of human-induced global warming. Thus about one third of all scientists openly support the thesis of human-induced global warming”.

However, the data situation does not permit the following assertions under any circumstances:

(1) “Then came the phase of the alleged scientific “discussion”. Scientists hired by business lobbies argued against consensus.”

(2) “99.3 percent of scientists in the field of climate research warn of the consequences of climate change.”

People promoting the latter positions seem to act under the premise: it is OK to trust statistics which you have forged yourself.

Redefining depletion as virtue

Many would say: climate change deserves our greatest attention because of its urgency. We have to save our planet! Earth is doomed; we are ruining our environment.

But, I believe, nothing could be farther from the truth behind this current frenzy to “save mother Earth”. In order to really understand the debate and the feeling of urgency we should look at its (mass) psychological roots, and also at the looming energy shortage.

Briefly, I propose that the current climate debate is nothing but the attempt to conceil and disguise from the upcoming energy crisis. Thereby energy cuts and consumption reductions are self-initiated as countermeasures against “climate changes”.

This misinformation can be seen as a global public relations campaign against the common panic and public upheaval which may ensue if the scarcity of our energy resources were exposed. It is a measure of crowd control – a scam, propaganda.

Of course, this is not the only reason why global warming has become such a hot topic – as will be discussed in due time many interest groups have joined the climate scam bandwagon for diverse reasons – but it may be its basic root and main drive.

And its about the construction of dignity and self-determination when facts point to unavoidable losses of conveniences & privileges. Just as Nietzsche observed: in order to cope with weaknesses, unavoidable deficiencies can be turned into virtues.

Looming energy shortage?

Peak oil – the idea that we have reached the peak of cheap petroleum production and are facing a downward trend in the availability of easily exploitable fossil fuels – seems to have come and gone. Today peak oil is almost forgotten and its proponents are riduculed. After all, the price of crude oil has decreased, or has at least been quite stable, for many years. Gas for our cars remains relatively cheap; and there is no shortage or price increase in sight (subject to nonoccurrence of “black swan events” such as a war among major oil producers in the Persian gulf).

But how long will cheap petroleum dominate peak oil? Forever?

Let us talk about Energy returned on energy invested  

Energy returned on energy invested, abbreviated by EROEI, is the ration of energy returned to energy invested.

What is this ratio good for? For instance it indicates how effective some measures to acquire energy are: the higher the EROEI yield the better; the lower the worse. An EROEI < 1 means that one is using more energy for the extraction/production of another, secondary enery. Most often, one should abandon such enterprises. Conversely, if the EROEI >> 1 one should be “in business” with good returns, harvesting much more energy than one has invested.

EROEI ist tied to the price of energy production: the higher EROEI gets the higher will the profit of producing energy be, and the lower will be the price of energy production. An EROEI smallen than one signals loss of investment (and money). Thus EROEI is inversely proportional to the price of energy and proportional to the net profit of its production.

So the question is not: “when will we ran out of fossile fuel?” We will never reach such a situation. But the question should rather be: “when will the EROEI approach a point close to one?” But even before such a situation energy prices will reach unprecedented levels; with dramatic consequences on our lifestyle and the convenience and stability of our societies.

So, let us, for a moment, talk about the Gahwar field in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the largest petroleum resources known today, making up for more than 50% of the Kingdom’s oil production, and more than 5% of global production. It is exploited by Saudi Aramco.

Currently the EROEI of Ghawar is very high with respect to other energy reservoirs. But exactly how long will Ghawar “last” – that is, yield high EROEIs? Its easily accessible reserves, as far as they can be estimated (scroll down to Section “Peak Oil in Ghawar”), are a state secret of highest rank.

But, as time passes, on the average we have to drill deeper and deeper to recover the petroleum stored in Earth’s crust. And drilling deeper decreases the EROEI. And this increases the price of oil production.

There exist sceptics of petroleum depletion and its increasing scarcity. Some say we half enough petroleum-rich stuff to sustain a high EROEI for long periods (maybe a hundred years or so) not to worry too much about this in our and our children’s lifetime. Others (certainly a minority among experts) claim that, as the origin of petrolium may at least partly be abiotic, there is nothing to worry about: petrolium is a raw material which is constantly replenished by chemical processes in the Earth’s crust.

Others say: we dont know. Just as we dont know how much crude oil is in Ghawar.

So is there a connection to climate change?

Actually, there is not much of a direct causal connection between EROEI and climate change.

But there is a sociological and psychological connection: because it is less disturbing to curb one’s own energy consumption voluntarily by one’s own free will than to be forced to cut one’s energy consumption through external factors: exorbitantly increasing, unaffordable energy costs. It is a question of control and appropriation:

I can feel good and free and in control of my own life if I decide to “save the planet” by consuming less energy.

But I may feel miserable and experience a total loss of self-determination if I am forced to cut my energy consumption because I can no longer afford it.

These alternatives “feel very differently” individually, and they have a huge impact at societies at large.

Historic temperature changes

What is really going on in the atmosphere?

Freeman Dyson suggest we dont know, and me knowing Freeman Dyson , I would believe him 😉
See the sevond part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k69HUuyI5Mk

Should we fixate and “stabilize” a naturally changing climate?

This is a review lecture by Jörn Thiede (Geomar Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel) in German about past climate conditions from a scientific point of view.

Thiede asks: “we can see that the climate was never stable but has always changed a lot – and actually a stable climate which is often promoted by politicians nowadays has never existed at all – it was always highly variable.”

He also notes, “it is written in the newspapers that the greenhouse gases drive the temperature, but if you look at the natural variability or also modern meteorological measurements then you can see that, actually, the greenhouse gases are following the temperature changes; and that will have to be considered very carefully what that means.”

Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Jörn Thiede (Geomar Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel) im Rahmen des Studium Generale der Universität Konstanz/BRD am 19. November 2018. Zeittakt von Eiszeiten: Was steht uns bevor?

Three emotive teenage girls …

Greta

And here is another fifteen year old girl, Nayirah, whose tears facilitated the launch of the first Iraq war: “A woman whose sobbing launched a thousand bombs.”

On October 10, 1990, Nayirah , (at the time undisclosed) daughter of the Kuweiti ambassador to the US, prepped by the PR agency Hill & Knowlton, staged a testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. According to CBC, “Nayirah’s story was developed by the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton. Hired by a group named Citizens for a Free Kuwait, the company was paid $11.5 million to boost support for the American intervention in the Iraq occupation of Kuwait. ” https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/gulf-war-truth-or-propaganda
https://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html
Full CBC documentary: To Sell A War – Gulf War Propaganda (1992), part of CBC programme The Fifth Estate and produced by Neil Docherty: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Sell_a_War
And here is the wise 12 year old Severn Cullis-Suzuki at Rio Summit 1992…just made it to Rio from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Energy transition to purgatory

Why renewables can’t save the planet | Michael Shellenberger | TEDxDanubia
Energy Transitions – Vaclav Smil, Energy 2030

For our German speaking audience here are some links regarding the German effort to eliminate coal-based and nuclear energy:

Energiewende ins Nichts – Universitätsöffentlicher Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans-Werner Sinn, Präsident des ifo Instituts, 16. Dezember 2013
Energiewende – aber wie? Dr. Norbert Aust – (Skepkon 2019) – Ein Film von Andreas Weimann • Veranstaltung: SkepKon 2019 in Augsburg
Veranstalter http://www.gwup.org • Konferenzseite: http://www.skepkon.org

For your Endzeit (end time)-feel Franz Schmidt Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln

Die CO2-Theorie ist nur geniale Propaganda

Die Welt

Veröffentlicht am 04.07.2011 | Lesedauer: 6 MinutenVon Günter Ederer